Those have been my key words and cravings since Declan has been born, and I think I’m finally almost to where I want to be with both, but boy has it been a battle!
Normalcy seemed impossible.
Declan’s birth took far more of a physical toll on me than Lexi’s did, and that started me out a bit weaker both physically and emotionally. Plus the nursing struggle. Ohhhh the nursing. He had trouble in the hospital, but I figured it’d just take a few days, and he’d get it. No, it was a roller coaster for a very long time, and now, eleven weeks after his birth, it’s still not easy and totally natural like it was with Lexi, but we are making it work in a way I can live with. I won’t bore you with the details except to say that I’m not sleep deprived because Declan is up all night, im sleep deprived because I’m not yet comfortable enough with how much he’s eating to allow him to sleep through the night, because he would. We are finding a rhythm of systems that allow us to begin to go out and do things, and I’m beginning to be able to give Lexi more than the bare minimum of my attention, and we are creating our new normal. We aren’t quite there yet, because Scott and I have got to find a way to go to bed before midnight so I can start my day earlier without robbing my body of the sleep it needs, but I feel we are close. It’s a bit frustrating when I have an idea of a routine in my head and I can’t get it rolling quite as smoothly as I’d like right out of the gate, but I’m learning to just keep moving and eventually we will get to the place I’d like to be. And I’m a heck of a lot better at it now than I was when Lexi was a baby and I just lived in my euphoria bubble. The key to getting even this far though, has been:
Even before I had kids, back when I did what I wanted all day long (which honestly sounds so boring now!) I periodically took a day and called it a spa day. I took a long bath with bubbles and candles, did a long series of treatments on my face, gave myself a mani-pedi…and it refreshed me. In 2011 while we were actively pursuing having a baby, self care became more focused on my health and fitness, and that year was life changing. I fell in love with eating clean and moving my body. Then something crazy happened. I unlocked something in me that is never knew was there, first through swimming, then through cycle and yoga. I’d barely gotten to scratch the surface of my athleticism when I found out I was pregnant with Lexi. Self care wasn’t really something I struggled with during that first year in my pink Lexi bubble. Though I was unhappy with how my body looked and felt, I was not ready yet to stop snuggling long enough to do what it took to reclaim my health and really discover what I had inside me. I discovered Paleo halfway through that year, and that was awesome, but only half the package of a healthy lifestyle. In August 2013 though, it all clicked, and I began pursuing my health and working to become my best, strongest, and happiest self. It’s funny that from August 2013-June 2014 I went through some of the most painful emotional and spiritual challenges of my life, but the knowledge that if I kept on course with self care, which had come to mean daily devotion, consistent exercise and physical challenges, good food, and a little makeup, I would not only survive, but thrive. I wasn’t able to keep nearly as active as I wanted to while pregnant with Declan, and the difficulty sleeping robbed me of my early morning bible study time, but I was determined not to let 6 months go by before I started taking care of myself postpartum and definitely not a year. Even with all the challenges, I have to say I’m proud of myself, because I started walking fairly regularly when Declan was 3 weeks old, I started doing yoga when he was 6 weeks old, and I started HIIT training when he was 2 months old. With Scott’s help, I’m putting self care habits in place that are already making me the best mama for my babies. Here’s what self care looks like for me now:
– a realistic schedule mapped out that I can work toward making a daily routine for our family
– hands free pumping bras so I can have devotions during those overnight feeding/pumping sessions, breakfast and coffee during the morning one, and the ability to read and blog, and make that time not wasted.
-good food that is quickly and easily accessible during the day so I stay fueled
-support in making my fitness a priority. My workouts are my medicine, and they must happen. Scott’s support and facilitating this when needed is huge
-tools and products to keep myself looking and feeling pretty-this sounds silly, but the main room of our apartment has a mirrored wall. If I look like crap, I’m gonna see it all day and that’s really depressing.
-this one is new: a membership to a spa where I can get a massage or facial regularly. Best Mother’s Day gift ever!
I’m way behind on my schedule today already due to needing to sleep in and a baby that needed cuddles, but I’m going to keep rolling forward.
If you are a mama who struggles with self care, if it sounds silly and selfish to make time for your needs, please take it from me-it’s not. It’s putting on your oxygen mask so you can help your family with theirs.